An amended collective bargaining proposal made by the NHL late Thursday to the players union includes a deadline to open training camps by Jan. 12 for a Jan. 19 start to the season or the 2012-13 season will be canceled, according to a source with knowledge of the matter but not authorized to speak about it publicly.
The source also confirmed earlier reports by many media outlets, led by ESPN.com, that the league had softened its stance on several key issues that had fueled the two sides' differences.
A Jan. 19 start would allow for a 48-game season, as the league played following a labor dispute that delayed the 1994-95 season.
Players are expected to discuss the proposal via conference call Friday and will probably make a counterproposal. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement that the league had made “a new, comprehensive proposal” late Thursday, but he would not disclose the details.